Success Story – Aravali Institute of Technical Studies, Udaipur

                                                                                                                                                                             By Nidhi Sapra – Business Skills Trainer

They say success is not a destination it’s a journey, yet another event that proved this true. It was another stepping stone in my journey with PurpleLeap and our many students. This time it was at Aravali Institute of Technical Studies, Udaipur with first semester students.  I would call this one as the ‘purple steak’ of our training. With the successful completion of a boot camp we added another feather to our hats. The actual demonstration of what we always teach our students in ‘Team work’.

AITS Udaipur boot camp lasted for three days and ended on a very positive note and with lots of learning or rather I can say a big impact on us trainers and the students. Apart from the regular sessions we conducted group discussions and advertisement activity with the students.

Boot Camp @ AITS

During the ‘Ad Mad’ show on the first day of the bootcamp, the students astonished us with their creativity and agility. No wonder adverts can be more interesting than the daily soaps. Students were given only ten minutes to prepare their ads and what they processed in the 10mins was beyond our expectations. Maybe it’s right when it’s said that ‘crisis energy’ brings out the best in us.

We were amazed at the unique ideas which made the acts not just stunningly delightful but also enlightening. Like in one act, where a student appears with black teeth advertising a tooth powder and then uses the product in front of the audience instantly making his teeth white. Not to stop here, the group distributed tooth powder sachets to the audience to try it for themselves. It only demonstrated the commitment on the team’s part to make the act a hit.

With the task getting tougher, the next day the student’s had a challenge to create adverts on abstract products. The imagination and creativity went to another level altogether. In one of the acts on ‘Faith’ the team enacted a small scene where a student who was ill for many days was losing hope to recover, he would look out of his window and see the leaves falling from a tree and imagined that he will die just like how the leaves were falling from the tree and dying. Another participant in the act then tells him not to look out of the window for 5 days during that time he gets another friend to paint the tree green. When the ill friend looked out of the window again the green tree increases his hope in life and he starts recovering and his friend tells him that it’s not the tree but faith that has given him hope. Incredible message in a short act and beautifully portrayed.

The remaining students participated in a group discussion where a clipping from a famous chat show by Barkha Dutt was played. It was a discussion on ‘The Art of giving’. There were a few students who had seen such a chat show for the first time. When it was their turn to offer their opinion, young boys and girls came up with a discussion involving examples from the history when charity and donations was a social norm, Eg. Sudama. Some families survived only on BHIKSHA which in modern society has been institutionalized in the form of charities, donations and CSR. With a beautiful note the discussion ended with a conclusion that charity is not only donating money but also sharing happiness and being little more sensitive towards the under privileged section of the society.

On the last day and at the next level of performance only two teams were to be selected out of five; however they were so good that we selected three. One of the adverts was on the invention of telephone. After doing a lot of research students enacted the story of the first call on telephone and the landing on moon. Using a story students demonstrated that need inspired the invention of telephone.

Students with TrainersThe group discussion teams discussed on the topic Indian culture vs the Western culture. They offered suggestions like; western culture has best of technology and east has great minds. They concluded that no culture is bad, what matters is what we want to adopt from others around us.

The bootcamp ended on an ecstasy when the students shared their learnings; like team work, how they fought their fear to come on stage, the ones who never spoke in English did an act entirely in English, and how they handled both victory and failure. They talked about some new traits they discovered about themselves and a new side of their own personality. With a few tokens of appreciation we ended the carnival.

For us PurpleLeap trainers, it was yet another blissful journey in understanding young minds and discovering our own potential as trainers. I want to say passionately that we are still learning…and learning indeed is a wonderful thing.


How to excel in a Group Discussion

kandys asked, how do we control a person who tries to hog all the time for himself and not let others speak
Amit Bansal answers, It is alright to interrupt and ask them to give time to others. However the choice of words has to be kept in mind.

Roopali asked, once in a GD, all my team members spoke against the topic and I to get noticed spoke for the topic. But i struggled hard to speak to hold on my point. can you suggest what can be done in such circumstances?
Amit Bansal answers, You must not speak against or for a topic to try to be different from others. You should be convinced about a topic when you are speaking about it. In this case, even if you are talking against the majority of the speakers you will have enough points to make to let your voice be heard.

Manohar asked, Hi, In GD, I might not have much to say, but probably have talked about a point which is very strong and correct. But my words are not heard, or ignored? Is it ok to repeat same point again and again? or how to handle this situation ?
Amit Bansal answers, Even if you are repeating what you are saying, try and put it in a different way maybe with an example or an anecdote.

ramsingh asked, What strategy has to be adopted if one is not very familiar with the topic of discussion?
Amit Bansal answers, Wait for others to speak first if you do not know about the topic much. When some people have spoken you will have a little idea about the subject and then pick up cues from other’s ideas and make up your comment. The only reason why you would not be able to speak on a topic at all, will only be if you are not in a habit of reading or keeping abreast with the current affairs.

smruti asked, in spite of performing well in written and interview at IIM ENTRANCE, could not get selected due to GD ground, why there is no weightage to my merit otherwise?
Amit Bansal answers, Your performance in GD is not dependent on your ability to successfully complete your written test. I would suggest you to recap the various things you did during the GD and analyse how these things may have affected your selection.

ramsingh asked, How to intrupt afellow who is not giving chance to others to speak despite repetaed requests?
Amit Bansal answers, You can interrupt by raising your hand while someone else is speaking. If someone does not pay attention to you even after raising hands you can verbally ask them to excuse you to speak and if that also does not help you can stand up to show that you want to speak. However, standing up is your last option.

Rohan asked, What are the important things which have to be taken into account..while going for a group discussion ?
Amit Bansal answers, During a group discussion a panel is assessing your knowledge about the subject, your interpersonal communication, your ability to handle disagreements, overall body language and leadership qualities to some extent. So if you display these attributes positively. You can be successful in any group discussion.

raj asked, Sir, what should i do to become fluent in english ? without which i am zero now.
Amit Bansal answers, To learn any language you need to make it a part of your daily conversation. Speak, listen and read English often during the day and it will help you improve your communication in the language.

Source: Rediff

Chat Date: November 29,2012

The employment divide

Many newly minted college graduates are filled with anxiety, fearing they won’t find decent jobs despite their knowledge and skills, and that they will never be free of tuition debt. At the same time, executives say they can’t find qualified applicants for a wide range of jobs.

So, this fall, I talked to about a dozen CEOs in a variety of industries, along with more than 135 graduates, to try to get to the bottom of this paradox.
Instead of finding shared interests linking those who need work and those who need workers, I uncovered a serious divide that limits the success of both.
Every CEO I met described recent graduates as lacking the skills and discipline required in today’s workplace. They complained that young employees deemed themselves entitled to promotion before mastering their assigned tasks. All concluded, in effect, “Let them grow up on someone else’s payroll.”
I replied that my interviews with young people showed that many had records of part-time jobs and excellent grades at selective schools that seemed to make them promising candidates. But executives countered that recent graduates had emerged from universities whose weakened requirements didn’t prepare them for the complex jobs that companies must now fill.
Recent graduates say they are equipped to add value to any employer who hires them. An economics graduate from the University of North Carolina, US, told me: “I’m sick of the bashing our generation gets. I had a 3.6 GPA (grade point average) in a demanding major. Everyone in my dorm knew it would be difficult to land a job, so we held study groups where people in different disciplines shared information. We invited alumni to tutor us in skills and office protocol employers value. All I ask is a chance to prove I’m as good as the best of any generation.”
It’s true that companies are actively seeking petroleum engineers, systems designers, supply-chain analysts and other graduates armed with “hard” skills. But those who majored in English, philosophy, history and other liberal arts subjects are far less likely to be offered an interview, much less a job.
At one time, employers recruited liberal arts graduates whose broad education shaped an inquiring mind and the ability to evaluate conflicting points of view. Their education also brought a freshness of vision that saw alternatives to outdated practices. Graduates entered corporate training programmes armed mainly with potential, but soon absorbed business disciplines. Veteran employees seeing that growth didn’t laugh when a trainee suggested a different approach to a chronic problem.
Rotating through departments let young people showcase their abilities; the most promising were selected by managers eager to mentor them. Several CEOs I spoke with, including those most critical of recent graduates, had this type of training. Today, such programmes are more likely to recruit those with immediately applicable skills that can be honed on the job. As one hiring manager told me: “We no longer have the luxury to hire bench strength. If an applicant isn’t ready to step into an open job we don’t hire them.”
But I’ve found many broadly educated employees to be quicker than technical staff members to develop the intuition that’s crucial on a work floor where grey—not black or white—is the dominant colour. Many of the best general managers with whom I work as a consultant entered the workplace with broad education and not with technical degrees. It was their intuition that helped them ascend—their ability to suspect a flaw even when the data appeared correct, to read the mood of customers and employees, and to sense potential in a product others disdained.
Even the most technologically innovative companies benefit from having a balance of employees—most with technical degrees, others with broader education. Valuable products and services emerge from the clash of ideas between analytical professionals and managers whose greatest strength is their intuitiveness.
Can’t someone who can conjugate French verbs, write statistically dense research papers and explicate the poetry of William Blake be trained in computer programming, supply-chain management and other skills valued by hiring managers? An entire generation hopes that CEOs somewhere believe that giving them an opportunity is the right—and the smart—thing to do.

Indian IT’s 2 lakh-hires-a-year problem

There’s no metric that’s so obsessively tracked in IT sector as the ones that relate to people. It resonates well with readers – it’s about jobs. It tells something about human behaviour – today’s Business Line has a story on attrition that also talks about how people would like to hold on to their jobs when things are bad, and how the number goes up during certain quarters when American universities take new students. It says something about politics – a recent WSJ report touches on the political reasons behind the trend of Indian IT companies hiring abroad.

And above all, it tells something about how well a company is doing – more people often equals growth.

Infosys CEO SD Shibulal points out to why it will soon turn into a problem (for individual companies): This year  Infosys will “hire 35,000 people, if you continue on this path in about seven years we’ll be recruiting about 200,000 people. This is not a viable option,” he told Bloomberg.

It’s not a viable option for any big IT services company, not just Infosys. If things go in the same direction, some companies will face it sooner than Infosys (TCS and Cognizant), and others a little later (Wipro, HCL Tech and Mahindra IT). They are aware of the problem, which is why we hear so much talk about non-linear growth. They are taking steps to address this – by automating some processes, by trying to get into areas that need less people to generate revenues and so on. TCS, for example, said that 10% of its incremental revenues will be in non-linear segments. While it’s not clear how it defines non-linearity (the specific revenue/employee ratio), TCS said it achieved it last quarter, and is confident of doing so in the coming quarters.

Even so, the number Shibulal pointed out – hiring 2 lakh people a year – raises the question if IT companies are being too complacent about non-linearity.


Jobs boom powered by manufacturing

At a time when jobs are scarce and hikes are even more difficult to come by, twenty-eight million jobs are expected to be created in India in the electronics sector. Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) and R&D based exports will be a major driver of growth in the industry, say experts. “Increased value-addition in these areas will further drive demand for production as well as sales, services and after-sales support, which will have major implications on the demand for skilled human resources,” said a recent research report by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

The major demand drivers for employment in the electronics and IT hardware industry would be rapid urbanisation, higher disposable income, changing lifestyle and easy financing options, added NSDC. Ajay Kumar, joint secretary in the department of electronics and information technology (DeITy) estimates about seven-eight million direct jobs to be created in the electronics sector if the $400 billion industry target is to be achieved.

“Skill level is not available in India. HR development is a major focus of the policy. We require skill sets at the shop floor level, vocational level and managerial level and R&D level. We are in the process of developing schemes for developing this whole spectrum of human resource,” said Kumar.

To achieve the industry target, major stress needs to be laid on having doctorates available to foster innovation. “Basically the idea is for institutions that are granting PhDs as per the UGC norms to build up infrastructure and capabilities to produce more doctorates,” he said.

The government has set an ambitious target of producing 3,000 doctorates in the IT and electronics sectors — 1,500 each per annum by the end of the twelfth plan. The government will sanction about Rs 800 crore for the scheme. “The scheme has received in-principle approval and is pending expenditure finance committee (EFC) approval,” said Kumar.

While the government is pushing to increase the number of skilled human talent available to this sector the quality of graduating engineers in electronics and IT too is a concern. “Here the focus is on improvement of quality. We are talking of improving faculty of colleges through 25 state-level electronics and ICT academies to be mentored by an IIT or IIIT,” Kumar said.

He added that a budget of Rs 600 crore had been sanctioned for this scheme, which was also pending clearance from the EFC.

Human resources directly employed in the electronics and IT hardware industry have increased from about 770,000 in 2007 to around 900,000 at last count as per NSDC estimates. The electronics and IT hardware industry has the potential to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 17 per cent till 2022, assuming GDP grows at 7.5-8 per cent over the period.

However, the talent drought still exists at the vocational level. “While there are many private institutes for IT, we do not have enough electronics institutes. Industry is the best judge of what skills are needed,” added Kumar.

There is also a proposal for providing incentives to students from colleges and unemployment exchanges to be certified by sector skill councils and national institute of electronics and information technology (NIELIT) for vocational training.

“On successful completion, incentive for training will be provided by government. Work is going on in this framework. We propose to go through the process of approval this year,” added Kumar.

It is estimated that the demand for electronics (consumption) in India will rise to $400 billion by 2020 from $100 billion at present. Out of this, the Indian electronics and IT hardware sector production has grown at a CAGR of 16.4 per cent since 2002. India exports around 17 per cent of its total electronics hardware production.


Hiring improves in October, reveals survey

In signs of improved labour market conditions, hiring activities picked up marginally in October, boosted by banking and BPO sectors, says a survey.

The uptick in hiring in October came after three consecutive months of decline, according to job portal Naukri.Com.

“Hiring activity for October 12 is three per cent higher than what it was last month. However, this does not mean revival in India Inc’s employment scenario, but does indicate slight improvements in the sectoral hiring activity,” it said in a statement today.

Naukri Job Speak Index — an indicator of monthly online hiring activities — rose to 1,162 last month from 1,131 in September.

Info Edge India CEO Hitesh Oberoi said that most employers are cautiously optimistic about their hiring plans.

“Most recruiters will continue with selective hiring for the next few months,” he added.

Naukri.Com is part of Info Edge.

According to the statement, banking and BPO sectors have seen maximum movement in their hiring activity with the job speak index moving up by 15 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, in October compared to September.

“Both, auto and telecom sector saw hiring activity pick up by six per cent, respectively, during the same time period,” it said.

source: Business Standard

Agenda for Reforms: Four stories that show how policy shifts have touched individual lives

Jobs: Ready To Work

Even after a masters in commerce from Chaudhary Charan Singh University in Meerut, 26-year-old Teetu Singh had no job prospects for months. Until April, when he came across GRAS Academy in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. GRAS, a vocational training institute , was offering a six-month course in basic accounting. Singh jumped at the chance to brush up his knowledge and at its promise of a job.

Last month, GRAS made good on its promise and placed Singh as an account executive at a warehouse of sports goods company Puma in Ghaziabad. Millions like Singh have the classroom knowledge and a degree, but are unemployable because they lack specialised and soft skills. A few million join them, year after year, dulling India’s ‘demographic advantage’.

But things are changing. The government is putting in place the pieces to train people in throngs in the age group of 18-35 years. Spearheading this effort is the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), which the government set up in 2009 to fund private entities—through loans, equity and grants—to impart hard and soft skills to young Indians for entry-level jobs. Its target: make 150 million people job-ready by 2022. “This is a demand-driven model and trainees are mandated by this system to get a job at the end of it,” says Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO of NSDC.

Noida-based GRAS runs 42 centres in North India. It offers entry-level courses in several sectors, including IT, retail, construction and sales, and also imparts soft skills. Companies, too, benefit from this engagement: they get more numbers and better quality. “On an average, we recruit 40% of our employees from NSDC-partner centres,” says Ramesh Mitragotri, chief people officer at Aditya Birla Retail-More.

The courses, which are heavily subsidised, are primarily meant to draw candidates from underprivileged backgrounds. Teetu Singh, today, earns Rs 6,000 a month as an account executive. His family of five, including his parents and two younger brothers, were living off his father’s meagre salary of Rs 1,400 per month. “We were living hand to mouth and spent all that my father earned,” says Singh.

“With my income, we hope to start saving.” A big lacunae of the NSDC skills drive is that the institutes have not managed 100% placement. According to Tahsin Zahid, CEO of GRAS, it does 75% placement because students dropped out or were reluctant to relocate”. “It’s early days and the model is evolving,” says Madhav Chavan, founder of Pratham. Chenoy adds the NSDC is working to see what can be done to ensure 100% placement—and change more lives like Teetu Singh’s.

Labour: Fallback Work Option

Hunched over, and with her hands and feet covered in dirt, 34-yearold Ashamma works the fields of Andhra Pradesh’s most populous Ranga Reddy district, braving the elements from 10 am to 4 pm. It’s back-breaking work, but Ashamma has never been happier. Thanks to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, she now has guaranteed work for at least 100 days a year, and that too in her village, Akkampalle.

Although it has faced criticism—money is siphoned off, many projects don’t have an economic use —NREGS has made a discernible difference to the poor. “Landless labourers like Ashamma are the biggest beneficiaries as they need not go in search of work. Work comes to their doorstep,” says V Muraleedhar, independent consultant to NREGS and Ashamma’s supervisor.

Ashamma and her husband are able to earn about Rs 20,000 in three months from the scheme, adding to their income from other sources like construction work. Narasimhulu says they have repaid a moneylender. Last year, they paid Rs 5,000 to a farmer in the neighbouring village and leased an acre of land. “We can’t wait for our first crop,” says Ashamma. G Venkatesh, a senior additional programme officer, says the scheme has brought about other changes. “Migration of labour to other states has stopped and the confidence among villagers has gone up.”

Despite the scheme’s flaws, many poor households Andhra villages have one request of the government: double the number of days of guaranteed employment to 200. “It has made us land owners. What more do we need?” asks Narasimhulu.

Urban Renewal: A Breezy Ride

Vijay Kumar Gupta’s cost of commuting to work has doubled, but he is not complaining. It’s a small price to pay for the surety, convenience and timesaving a dedicated corridor for buses has brought to the lives of 130,000 citizens of Ahmedabad like him who ride it everyday. Partly financed by a Central programme that funds modernisation projects in cities, the Ahmedabad bus rapid transit system (BRTS), called ‘Janmarg’, is cited as a model urban transportation project.

“My schedule has become predictable now,” says the 35-year-old Gupta, who works in the marketing division of textile company Chiripal Group and has been a BRTS user since it started in 2009. No more does Gupta have to change two buses for his 15 km commute. He now knows a bus will come in intervals of 2.5 minutes and 6 minutes during peak hours and off peak hours, respectively. The buses are better.

A dedicated lane means the average speed of buses on the BRTS route has increased to 27-30 km per hour, from 16-17. Gupta’s travel time has halved to 30-35 minutes. “I am paying Rs 13 one way, which is twice of what I paid four years ago,” he says. “But I am able to save time, which is money.” The city saves on fuel, according to the Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL), the special purpose vehicle of the city’s municipal body implementing the project.

A recent survey done by it shows that 52% of BRTS users were earlier riding their own two-wheelers, 30-40% were using normal bus services and auto rickshaws, and 4-5 % were using cars. The Ahmedabad BRTS, which currently covers 51 km, is scheduled to extend to 89 km. The Ahmedabad BRTS is one of the 552 urban modernisation projects sanctioned by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)—35% of its Rs 1,200 crore project cost will come from the Centre.

These cover areas like water supply, sewerage, roads, and transportation systems, among others. As of July 2012, JNNURM, set up in 2005, had providing Rs 6,546 crore of funding to 146 projects. CEPT University’s HM Shivanand Swamy, who was involved in designing Janmarg, is upbeat about it. “Its size is ideal— it is scalable and viable, unlike in larger cities,” he says.

Kumar Manish, communications officer at Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, a not-for-profit working in sustainable transportation, says Ahmedabad, a city of 6.4 million people, is adding 600 new vehicles every day. The situation is no different in other cities. Public transportation systems like the BRTS can reduce pressure on the roads. Janmarg has done just that.
Suppliers: Bigger And Better

In 2004, Manish Khandwala was just another garment maker in the warren of bylanes in Kalbadevi in south Mumbai. Until, a chance visit by a Shoppers Stop executive opened a whole new set of opportunities for his then-fledgling business—Nandini Fashions. Khandwala had worked for a couple of years with Shoppers Stop, sending them yards of unstitched dress material, before an unscheduled stop by Shoppers Stop’s design team allowed him to think big.

After showcasing his range to the visiting team, Khandwala was upgraded to a supplier of ready-tostitch garments for its DIY (design it yourself) range the retailer was just rolling out. What started with one store in Andheri in Mumbai (followed by a couple more in the city) soon became a national rollout . More categories were addedincluding mix-and-match ethnic wear, jewellery and accessoriesas Nandini sought to piggyback its fortunes on the rapid rollout of Shoppers Stop’s nationwide chain of stores.

“We picked up many tricks of the trade from watching them up close,” says Khandwala. “We’re now looking to replicate those in our business.” Access to Shoppers Stop, and consequently more retailers, has helped Nandini grow 10-fold , from Rs 4 crore in 2004 to around Rs 40 crore today, says Khandwala. He has spent the past few years tuning up his factories—with quality certifications , better facilities for workers and better machineryand could see another spike as foreign retailers consider the pros and cons of a full-fledged investment.

Khandwala is a showcase for small traders and farmers looking to hitch a ride on the retail bandwagon. Bypassing unscrupulous middlemen, lower overheads and the opportunity to reach distant markets are all good reasons for small traders and farmers to welcome greater foreign direct investment in retail, including for the first time in multi-brand retail. Yogesh Gajan Tadkari, who has a four-acre farm in Naraingaon near Pune, has experienced these benefits firsthand.

In the past eight months, his trips to wholesale marts in Mumbai and Pune have fallen to a trickle. Instead, he looks forward to the weekly pick up by a Bharti Walmart vehicle. “This is a more profitable and easier route to take my vegetables to the market,” he says. Tadkari had to earlier pay his labourers Rs 200 a day to move his produce to the market and Rs 70 or 80 per trip to ferry it to local markets.

Much of those costs have now been cut out. “I am paid in eight days, directly to my account,” he says, adding that a few of his peers have set up an informal collective to pitch better to large retailers.

Source: The Economic Times


Budding engineers of BBD College Design Smart Township Run by a Single Mobile Phone

Budding engineers of BBD College Design Smart Township Run by a Single Mobile Phone


  • First of its kind event in Robotics features 1872 electronic devices controlled by a single mobile phone
  • Participation from over 800 students from BBD college
  • Event in the reckoning for a place in the Limca Book of Records


Lucknow, November 7, 2012: The BBD Group of Educational Institutions, pioneers in technical education in Lucknow, put up an exclusive and first of its kind robotic event, the ‘Smart Township Project’, in the university’s premises today. At the event, over 800 students exhibited a ‘Smart Town’ model involving 1872 home appliances, automobiles and other electronic devices in 200 model houses, controlled by a single mobile phone. The event, held in association with PurpleLeap, a Pearson-Educomp company and a pioneer in entry level talent management, aimed at helping students showcase their prowess in a technical field like robotics. It also created awareness among students on the applications of robotics in day-to-day life and its potential as an important field in technical education. This unique event was an outcome of a design contest conducted by PurpleLeap at BBD University and is in the reckoning for a place in the Limca book of Records.

‘The Smart Township’ had 1847 devices -208 buzzers, 832 LEDs, 208 LCDs and 642 AC appliances which included tubelights, fans, LED lighting, TV and anything which is operated at 230V. Other than these the Smart Township also had four battery-operated, eco-friendly ‘Green Robotic Taxis’ plying on the streets, capable of going to any Smart Home autonomously. All these devices in the township were controlled by a custom developed front-end software run on a mobile phone.

The event was inaugurated by Vice Chancellor BBD University, Prof. (Dr) A.K. Mittal and saw close to 5000 people in attendance. Visitors were treated to a vast range of basic and noteworthy applications that PurpleLeap has helped the students develop, utilizing both mobile and internet controlled robotics. The applications involved day-to-day aspects of living, including fire and safety, authorized entry and vehicle tracking – and notably, all this was controlled through a single mobile phone. The Smart Homes were designed to detect fire and communicate to the entire township within seconds of such an emergency. For security, the students designed finger print recognition for authorized entry and RFID card based Township Gate Control. The Smart Homes could receive GPS coordinates for Smart Vehicles, thus helping them track vehicle location. The program could also automatically control and schedule entry gates. Messages could be relayed to the entire township or to individual homes or parts of the township.

Speaking about the project Hon. Vice Chancellor BBD University, Prof. (Dr) A.K. Mittal said, “We are very proud of our students for this unparalleled effort at demonstrating the potential of Robotics. Through this Smart Township project we wanted to provide a platform for our students to apply the training they have received through the PurpleLeap robotics programme, and we are glad that students could design and develop an entire township. Working with partners like PurpleLeap, helps institutions like ours bring such specialized streams to the large talent pool that exists in smaller cities.”

Speaking about the project Mr. Amit Bansal, CEO and Founder of PurpleLeap said, “Robotics is a very exciting and interesting field in engineering. The students of BBD college have today made an attempt to showcase how our future is going to be aided by smart technology and robotics. The Township project is a great example of effective training and application of technical education.”

Globally, robotics is assuming centre-stage in product development across sectors including consumer electronics, medicine and automobile engineering. Consumer and industrial applications of robotics will witness double digit growth for the next 4-5 years. In India, demand for smart appliances, increase in grants and funds by governments, and enhancements in product value brought by robots are fuelling the growth of this field. Already, robotics is being explored as a strategic technology for the future with about 60 percent of the robotics application in India taken up by the automobile sector. Moreover, the Indian government is promoting use of robotics in medicine, such as aiding doctors in surgeries or to remind the elderly to have their medicines.

University system not producing well-educated graduates: Tharoor

The university system was not producing “well-educated” graduates to meet needs of Indian companies, giving an opportunity to firms to enter the sector in the “guise” of training, Minister of State for Higher Education Shashi Tharoor on Monday said.

He also said that the national education policy in the past has been out of step with the times.

“The major problem remains that our national education policy in the past has remained out of step with the time. Whereas countries in the Middle-East and China are going out of their way to woo foreign universities to set up campuses in their countries, India turned away many academic suitors who have come calling in recent years,” he said.

Speaking at a two-day Higher Education Summit, Mr. Tharoor said, “Companies are entering the higher education space in the guise of training. Our University system simply is not producing well educated graduates to meet the needs of Indian companies today.”

The HRD Minister said there will be no need for many Indian students to go abroad to study if good higher education institutes were set up in the country. “We will also work towards putting our reform agenda back on track,” he said.

Mr. Tharoor said there is a proposal to establish 50 centres for research in frontier areas of science, design innovation centres, innovation centres in different universities and also research parts of the IITs and other technical institutions.

“If finally established, it would transform the research environment in our country,” he said.

Mr. Tharoor favoured expediting setting up of National Mission for teachers and recommendations of the Narayana Murthy Committee and the Kakodkar Committee besides increasing the spending of 2 per cent on research.

The minister said with the ranks of educated unemployed in the country swelling in the absence of adequate employment opportunities, there is possibility of their falling prey to the activities of terrorists and Maoists.

“We must give them a better chance of employment through more and improved educational possibilities. My message is it is time to let a thousand educational flowers bloom,” he said.

He said even though India with 621 universities and 33,500 colleges has one of the largest network of higher education institutes across the world and second in terms of student enrolment, our gross enrolment ratio of 18.8 per cent in 2011 is still less than the world average of 26 per cent.

He said there was need to develop higher levels of education and skill development and an environment must be created in which not only the economy grows rapidly but also enhances good quality employment.

Mr. Tharoor said as India aims to grow at 8.2 to 8.5 per cent GDP, the country needs to invest in education and help improve the quality of education.

Referring to a few world-class institutes like IIT’s and IIMs and some colleges, the Minister said, “These are still islands in a sea of mediocrity”.

Citing a UGC survey of 1,471 colleges and 111 universities, he said 73 per cent of the colleges and 68 per cent of the universities are found to be of medium or low quality.

He also said that a FICCI survey has revealed in 2009 that 64 per cent employers are “somewhat satisfied” with the quality of new graduates coming out of engineering institutes.

The minister lamented that spending on education is only 1.22 per cent of GDP, against USA’s 3.1 per cent or South Korea’s 2.4 per cent. He also said that the student-teacher ratio in India was 26:1 against the global average of 15:1.

He said the rapid expansion of higher education sector has also led to shortage of faculty.

Source: The Hindu